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tv   Dateline NBC  NBC  September 29, 2017 9:00pm-10:52pm EDT

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people kept asking where my mom was, and i couldn't give an answer. it just seemed wrong. that was the real kind of stake in the heart. ♪ >> reporter: it was one of the most baffling cases investigators had ever seen. >> this tops the charts for most bizarre. >> no one can believe that this actually happened. >> reporter: a single mom and whip-smart computer whiz who seemed to disappear. >> i started getting text messages saying she had quit her job. >> she had something down in kansas. >> reporter: left behind? a puzzling computer trail -- >> emails and text messages, so active on social media, but nobody can locate her.
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>> she didn't want to be found? >> ect oh jesus! rmyst that would link three moms, and one man. >> you were the last one to see her! >> yes. it was as if i had already done something, and he already knew it. he was drilling me with them policeman eyes. >> this was almost an obsession, to get this solved. >> reporter: a heart-stopping case of jealousy, secret identity, and murder. >> it's like, you're on edge as to what's going to happen next! >> reporter: i'm lester holt, and this is the season premiere of "dateline." here's keith morrison with "scorned." >> reporter: it was dark when they started searching -- dark and cold. the fifth of december, 2015. just across the night-black
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missouri from omaha, back and shooter. [ ripping ] [ moaning ] >> 911. what's the address of your emergency? >> i've been shot in the leg. >> reporter: looking for whoever shot her, the woman who'd come out here alone to clear her mind, get that nemesis out of her head, and instead was bleeding through a hole shot clean through her thigh. [ crying ] [ heavy breathing ] >> is there any serious bleeding? >> um, my -- my pant leg is soaked with blood. [ crying ] oh, jesus. >> reporter: oh, she knew who did it, she said, as they patched up her wounded leg. she knew all too well how deadly that crazy woman could be. >> so she gets to shoot somebody, and then she gets to kill another person. and then she gets to move in with dave, and she gets to be free. and you guys aren't arresting her. >> reporter: she?
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the man who didn't want her? it began, as these things often do, on an innocent and ordinary day in omaha, nebraska, three years earlier. the fall of 2012. >> i'm workin', i'm behind the counter, i'm doin' ten things. >> reporter: it happened in an auto repair shop, to a mechanic named dave kroupa. >> she walks in, i see her, we meet eyes. and just for a moment i kinda stop. and i go, "well, hello." >> reporter: he was working. she want her suv repaired. >> and, you know, in the back of my mind i'm thinkin', "wow, she's gorgeous." but i'm at work representin' the company i work for. that's off the table. it's not a possibility. >> reporter: but y
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back your way -- >> i thoug d an her name -- cari. he started typing. t id, "hey, i know you. haha." and -- she replied same thing. >> reporter: and then, before long, cari came into his shop again. >> without sayin' anything, there's kinda some sparks flyin'. we're lookin' at each other like we're both tryin' -- wantin' to say somethin'. and -- and we did. and we exchanged phone numbers. >> reporter: they had dinner. the food didn't matter. >> and we were very -- [ sighing ] i would say, enthralled with each other. >> reporter: he invited cari back to his place, and she agreed. and that's when something else happened. didn't seem so important -- not then. not like it would later. just as they walked into the apartment, the doorbell rang. it was dave's ex-girlfriend liz,
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she'd left behind in his bowed out. done e said, "ah, i -- i get it. dealin' with this mess." >> reporter: so dave escorted cari to the door. >> and her and liz passed each other at that moment. there were no words spoken. >> reporter: did it start then, at that moment? later, once liz left his apartment, dave called cari. >> and she invited me out to her place. which was, like, an hour drive outside of town. cari, when i got to her place -- we're there 20 minutes makin' coffee bs 'ing. and of course pretty soon we're on the couch. and -- and we're gettin' a little closer. now, at this point, we haven't even kissed. and she turns to me, and she said, "look, if we're gonna have sex, that's all it is. period. there's nothin' more to it."
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>> and asked me, "are you good with that? powerball." >> reporter: because dave felt . >> as a man i want companionship. so i'm always lookin' for a girlfriend. but never a committed relationship. >> reporter: and you let them know that this is the way it's gotta be. >> that was the first conversation. yeah. take it or leave it, that's how it is. >> reporter: but with cari, he didn't have to bring it up. >> it was all her and -- and we hit it off right from there. >> reporter: cari told him she was a computer programmer. her office was close to his apartment. they met there often. made love. talked. >> she was extremely intelligent. she was much smarter than i am, just in general. she just -- she had a brain on her. >> reporter: different than the women you had dated before? >> the majority of 'em, yeah. yeah, she -- well, for instance, what she did for a living -- programming. i considered myself a little bit a
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but compared to her i didn't a rule he'd broken before with a woman named amy flora. they had two kids together. but it didn't last. >> after 12 years, you would think there would be some kind of a proposal or something. but like i said, he's kind of -- [ laughter ] emotionless. so -- >> reporter: he really didn't wanna get married? >> no. and i wanted to eventually be married, you know. i mean, every girl does. >> reporter: well, i mean -- >> everybody wants their fairytale wedding. >> reporter: amy and dave stayed friendly for the sake of their kids. and amy knew about dave's other women. heard about cari. >> reporter: you expected you would meet her at some point if -- if it continued? >> well, if it continued, yeah, i would've liked to have met her. >> reporter: but amy didn't meet cari. not then. no idea what was coming. early that novr
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cari told dave she had a b d h country every night. and so they began their work week together. and then, on tuesday november 13th -- >> i gave her a kiss on the way out the door. you know? like, "hi, see you later, honey." that kinda thing. you know, it was almost like a -- that sorta '50s tv show garbage. >> reporter: that doesn't sound like a guy who's got no attachments -- >> well, i didn't say "honey." but that's the way it came across. you know? >> reporter: right. okay, right. >> but she brought that outta me. that's why i say, with cari it was potential that long term it might have been different. >> reporter: so when you went off to work that day, you were in a pretty good mood. >> oh, hell yeah, i was in a great mood. i had this beautiful lady who was gonna be at my house when i got home. i don't know who wouldn't smile about that. >> reporter: dave was at his shop by 6:30. entirely unprepared. and then -- >> by 10:00 i receive a text from her that says, "do you wanna move in with me?" or, "should -- we need to move in together." or something along tho l
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back, "no.ays, "fine. i don't ever wanna see you again. go away. i'm dating somebody else. i hate you." on and on and on and on and on. >> reporter: weird. >> very weird. very, "what is goin' on here?" but i was at work. it was very busy. i didn't have time for that nonsense. so in the back of my mind i'm thinkin', "phew. i dodged a bullet there." >> reporter: oh, but he didn't. no. now, it was just beginning. >> who was this mysterious woman named cari? when we come back -- >> reporter: so this is the woman from hell now? >> all of a sudden -- >> she was about to vanish in a very mysterious way. >> i started to get text messages saying that she was going to kansas to live. totally off the wall.
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now that name sounded like his personal horror show. >> so this is the woman from hell now. >> all of a sudden. yeah. or in the course of a couple of hours. >> wow. >> reporter: maybe to dave in omaha, that's how it seemed. but an hour's drive away, there was quite a different story. here, in this tiny, sweet farming town called macedonia, iowa. >> i think there's only around 250 people that live there now.
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it's very -- it's just home. and where she was raised by her step-father mark and her mother nancy, who would stickh through it all. but of course, they'd always known there was something different about cari. >> she felt like she wanted to do her own thing. and sometimes that -- >> that doesn't always go well? >> always go well, yeah. >> reporter: thing is, cari was smart. super smart. school was easy. but then, so were boys. >> guys were just drawn to her. >> and she liked it. >> yeah. she did. >> hello cari! >> reporter: but there was something else about cari, said her friend holly drummond. brainy, yes, but she sometimes made dubious choices. like when she was away at college. and there was this guy, one of a parade of guys. >> she would constantly talk about this night where they were all dressed up. and it was midnight. and they were walking in the streets with a bottle of
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as a surprise? >> yes. yeah. i was just -- i knew what she was gonna have to go through because i had been divorced with children, young children. and it's hard. >> it's not easy. >> reporter: she moved home, took computer courses. and she named the baby maxwell. everyone called him max. >> she was such a good mother, but i know she had so much on
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her >> reporter: that was about the same time dave was getting those angry texts, though nancy had no idea about that. anyway, cari's news came as a big surprise to nancy. though to max, maybe not so much. >> 'cause she had something down in kansas that she was gonna be going and interviewing for after those few days at work. >> reporter: his mom had mentioned a possible job change. she'd even discussed with him staying with grandma to finish high school. and then, early that weird week. >> i got a text saying, "hey, the -- i got a second interview." >> reporter: but she'd be back from kansas on the weekend, she texted for a family wedding. at which max was an usher. but, as the bride walked down the aisle, no sign of cari. >> i was just like, okay, she's just running late. she'll be at the reception. she'll be there for the party and everything. but at the party, i remember probably every five, ten minutes, i was glancing back at the door just hoping. >> where is she? >> yeah. just wondering where she was. i just kept saying, "oh, she'll be here any minute, be here any minute." midnight got around and she wasn't there. and i had -- i didn't know what to think at that point. >> reporter: coming up -- unsettling doubts about cari's story. was she moving or was she missing? >> i could just feel it in my bones.
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♪ ♪ >> reporter: long as he could remember, max farver believed he knew his mom cari as well as anybody possibly could. >> we were definitely really i was her second opinion on most
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no show at the wedding, max knew something was way off. >> i wasn't sure what was going on but that i just knew something was wrong. >> i could just feel it in my bones. there was something -- something wasn't right here. >> reporter: nancy didn't tell her grandson about the truly disturbing text she'd received from cari. this one didn't say anything about a new job. instead, cari texted she broke up with her boyfriend, and was thinking about checking into a mental hospital. >> reporter: that'd scare you? >> yes. it scared me tremendously. >> reporter: by 'boyfriend' did she mean this mysterious dave? did you know how to reach this guy? >> no. i didn't. >> reporter: or even what his
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i didn't know how to start looking for her.rust ast helple. >> reporter: so, before dropping off max at the wedding, she called the county shif rt. >> they took down all the information, of course. and they couldn't -- they didn't really offer too much. >> reporter: well, i guess they thought, well, she's a grown woman, and she can -- >> yeah. >> reporter: -- leave if she wants to leave? >> right. >> reporter: nancy told the deputies about cari's struggles with bipolar disorder. and here's what they told her, said nancy. >> "well, she's probably off her medicine. and, you know, these things happen. and so there's -- that happens a lot. >> reporter: nancy tried calling. but cari just wouldn't pick up. she did respond to texts, but sent mixed messages. >> "i'm moving down with this dave." i had no idea who this dave was. >> reporter: it was confusing. did she have some sort of mental breakdown? cari quit her job in omaha, sent her company a text to let them
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from the buyer. cari wanted nancy to let the ck macedonia, and take it away. >> and i said, "absolutely not." i said, "either you call me, you come see me. i'm not doing anything until i hear you. and that's when the nasty texts started coming. >> reporter: what did she say then? >> that i was a bad mother. she said, i'm gonna take max and we're gonna leave. >> reporter: cari texted max too and let him know. >> "you're coming with me. you have no choice. i'm the adult here and what i say goes." >> reporter: just trying to imagine what it was like to be you in the middle of that situation. >> it was a bit scary because we all thought that someone might come at school to try to get me. because the school would legally have to let them let me go with them. >> yeah.
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>> like if my mom showed up. >> reporter: max was scared. grandparents. >> i've heard all of these horror stories about people having these personality changes and going off the deep end. and i thought, i've got to do something about max. i've got to keep him safe. >> reporter: nancy applied for temporary guardianship of max. that must be so weird? >> oh -- >> reporter: fraught? >> yes and just wondering, "what am i doing to my daughter if-- if we were doing this." the lawyer said, "now, this is just temporary." "now, if she comes back, you know, you can always undo this." i said "okay." >> reporter: meanwhile, surely the sheriff could find her daughter, get some help. she showed them cari's texts about the furniture. the phone company said they were coming from a location in omaha. officers went there, no cari.
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sergeant jim doty and corporal joined the investigation much later, said the next step was to find the woman who'd paid for the furniture. her name was shanna golyar. >> they called her. left a voicemail. which she returned that call the next day. shanna went by her middle name, liz. and it turned out that was the same 'liz' dave kroupa once dated. she lived in omaha with her two kids. liz told the cops that somebody stole her checkbook. and she suspected that somebody was the woman she ran into at dave's place. liz gave the detectives his contact information. >> reporter: she's with him and then, suddenly, she goes off the rails and starts doing weird stuff like this. >> uh-huh. >> reporter: he must know something, right? >> yeah. >> definitely a person you wanted to talk to. >> reporter: and by then, the story dave could tell the police? scary. coming up -- >> he was drilling me with them policeman eyes.
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you were the last one to see her. esi d already done something. and he already knew it.
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>> reporter: dave kroupa was upset, maybe as upset as he'd ever been. ever since he'd told cari that he tried calling her, but she didn't answer, and then, a little more than a week later the cops showed up at his auto repair shop. >> reporter: how did you find out they were coming? they just showed up? >> oh yeah. there was no warning. >> reporter: the detectives took him outside for a talk. >> and he tells me, hey, do you know cari? my first thought is, oh, that crazy one. yeah, what? you know? when did you see her last? oh, the morning of -- and, okay, so where is she now? no idea. >> reporter: the detective didn't seem to buy that. >> he was drilling me with them policeman eyes. them ones that are like, ah, you know?
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principal's office. >> reporter: yeah. toere were you at 6:30? lly had the feeling -- >> reporter: i mean, she was at your house. >> yes. >> reporter: y were the last one to see her. >> and that was how he approached me. was as if i had already done something, and he already knew it, and it's time to deal with it, you know, and i was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down. >> reporter: dave tried to explain, he said. >> hey, man, i don't know where she's at, but i've got nothing to do with it. it's -- you know, i'm back pedaling as fast as i can. yeah, i don't know where she's at, and i don't want to know where she's at, at that point. i just want her to go away. >> reporter: because, dave told the detectives, cari would not stop messaging him. he showed them his phone, and was adamant he had not seen her since the morning he left her at his place. >> reporter: do you think they believed you when you said you didn't know where she was? >> i -- a hundred percent they believed me. >> reporter: and then the
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strangest thing, cari started texting the detective o. missing person entry won't be ta you are okay. >> reporter: did she respond to that? >> she said it was pointless. >> reporter: she didn't want to be found. >> exactly. >> reporter: but the detective got another text, and this one seemed ominous. i want one person to go away for destroying everything for me. who might that person be? the detective had a pretty good idea. dave showed them texts in which cari blamed liz for their breakup, even though, as he explained, he and liz weren't even together when he met cari. it made sense then, cari must have stolen liz's checkbook alright, maybe even forged that check for five grand. the detectives called liz right away, and told her she should
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had to have been cari. del of it was so strange, >> very out of the ordinary. >> like maybe she'd had a breakdown or something, a psychotic episode. >> that would be the only answer. >> reporter: to the police in omaha, cari was now a suspected stalker, but back home in pottawattamie county, iowa, she was still a missing person with a very worried family. cari's mother heard about the threatening texts, the harassment, the police reports filed against her daughter. to her it didn't seem like cari at all, and it made her wonder, how serious were the police about finding her daughter? >> i got a little callous towards the authorities,
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they were doing quite as -- what they should've been doing, bu somhing happen? >> yeah, but again, i didn't know how much i could do, and i -- i didn't know where to start. >> reporter: cari had been gone for almost two weeks, thanksgiving, a day away. nancy sent cari a message on facebook. i've got a roast in the crock pot, and we will eat about 6. we're going to dad's for thanksgiving, and eating about noon or one. we love you, cari. cari didn't respond, and didn't show up for thanksgiving dinner. less than a month later, nancy's ex-husband, cari's father, died of cancer. cari didn't come to the funeral. instead she sent a message on facebook. "i am sorry i missed the funeral." and, just a few days before that, she posted on facebook, david kroupa proposed to me. i said yes. what in heaven's name was goin
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?worehe was engaged to cari. he said he hadn't even seen her, but still heard from her constantly, a hail of texts, and emails that was only getting thicker. >> i would get 50, 60 a day. >> reporter: a day? >> oh yeah. yeah. all day long. it at one point rendered my phone completely useless. it would just be dinging so much i couldn't answer a phone, or send a text. >> reporter: make you want to change your phone number, wouldn't it? >> did that a couple of times. >> reporter: you did, and they still -- kept coming? >> they did. >> reporter: occasionally cari's texts seemed almost normal. i know i ruined it. i tell myself don't be crazy, this guy was nice to you, but something takes over, but mostly the emails and messages were angry rants about perceived romantic rivals, liz golyar in particular. she is a whore. you shouldn't be with someone like that.
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every move. >> it was very common for me to get messages, ee-mails or whatever that say, oh, i see you through your window, you're doing this, and i'd go, i am doing this. okay, great, and i'd haul ass outside, and go looking for somebody because somebody knows what i'm doing. >> reporter: even more disturbing, cari messaged dave that she'd taken his extra apartment key, and had been coming, and going when he wasn't there. liz got unsettling emails too. i am out in your garage so what should i do to your car? i see my handiwork is still on the wall.
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attached to the e-mail, a photo then i will let her go. couldn't see her face, but was that liz? >> i had told her, b.s., that's crock of crap. i don't believe you. go away. leave me alone. >> reporter: through it all cari remained invisible, even after she texted dave she was moving into an apartment building nearby. yss, a couple of buildings away, why, does that bother you? i'm only doing month to month until i find something else. dave told the cops, of course. they went looking for cari, and the building number was correct, but the apartment number did not exist. cari was still nowhere to be found, but near the complex, dave did find something that belonged to cari. coming up -- a crucial discovery almost buried in the snow, and the danger escalates.
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>> it was like, what in the hell? >> reporter: into something well then, my great granddaughter... it would all be worth it. tais really quite simple.est it comes in the mail, you pull out the tube and you spit in it, which is something southern girls are taught you're not supposed to do. you seal it and send it back and then you wait for your results. it's that simple. need a fast aby niina in-so sh apply. it absorbs fast. for 24 hour moisture. quickly rinse for smoother skin.
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that winter of 2012-'13, the >> i'm coming through the parking lot and i notice the truck there, because it still had all the snow on it. and when i got up close i'm like, oh, it's an explorer, oh, it's the right color, hmmm. so i called the sheriff and said i'm pretty sure i found her truck. >> reporter: he was right. it was cari's suv, still half buried in the snow. >> they impounded it. we had a crime scene tech process it. and it was really clean. >> they did a thorough investigation. >> y t
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for prints. and they found a fingerprint inside.th ran the print through national database. no hits. but if cari wasn't using her suv, at least certainly not daily, her presence was as unavoidable as ever. what with the texts and emails, graffiti, threatening photos sent to both dave kroupa and liz golyar. county detectives made sure to do a 'phone dump' from both of their devices to preserve the evidence and perhaps figure out where cari was. there was even a link to a fake obituary for liz. "go see what i made for the whore, i will kill her, i already made her obituary, so it's done.
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"i'm trying to hire someone to i hope to see you soon your beautiful cari." >> trying to enlist you -- >> oh yeah. >> in her scheme. >> it totally -- >> to kill liz. >> yeah, it -- >> and her kids. >> totally, yeah. yeah, that was a very interesting read the first time i read that. was like, oh, my -- what in the hell? >> reporter: cari didn't seem to realize that her ongoing harrassment was actually pushing dave and liz back together. >> you compared notes on the harassment. >> oh, we'd spend hours talking about it. showing each other texts and e-mails we got. and yeah, it was -- >> kinda comforting each other. you -- >> yeah. >> that's -- who else would understand, right? >> exactly. nobody else did understand. >> reporter: it was certainly a unique bond, and it rekindled the relationship they had before cari ever came along. >> what attracted you to her? >> she was fun to be around. she always wanted to do something.
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know, ledo about the same age. now with cari' harrassment, dave felt terrible. >> she's afraid to go outside at night. and, you know, the only reason she's involved is because i went out and dated this other girl. >> reporter: by now dave and liz were regulars at the omaha pd, filing one complaint after another against cari. like the time they reported that cari had broken dave's apartment window. and that's when detective chris legrow stepped in to investigate. >> he said, yeah, it's her, she's done this to me before. identified the photo of her, shows me some text messages that she had made a text referencing the fact that she broke out his window. >> reporter: legrow could see the attacks were escalating, from angry texts to theft and then vandalism, and threats of physical harm. he obtained an arrest warrant for cari farver. not that he had much hope of
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finding her. expert, probably using software to disguise the phones and computers her messages came from. >> i thought, well, maybe this must be some kind of avenue she's utilizing. because, it's just -- there's nothing there, we can't find her. >> reporter: weeks passed, and each time dave and liz were hit with an even more outrageous barrage, legrow would look again. and again, not find cari. and yet, it all seemed to be leading somewhere bad. >> were dave and liz afraid? >> oh, yes. it's not so much you're terrified of the individual, but it's, like, you're on edge as to what's gonna happen next. >> reporter: and sure enough what happened next was terrifying. early saturday morning, august 17th, liz called dave frantic. >> my house burned down. oh my god, it's that crazy person cari stalking me again. >> wow.
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her kids were already sleeping at their new place. but she went back to the old place that saturday morning to pick up more of their things. and instead she had to call the omaha fire department. they responded right away. and later, so did detective legrow. >> the inside of the house was pretty charred. and burnt. serious fire. >> smoke damage. >> big damage. >> sufficient. yes. really, it could have ended up burning down the house. but, just didn't quite get to that point. >> reporter: but it was deadly enough. liz had two dogs, one cat, and a pet snake. all were still in the house. all of them were found dead. neighbors across the street said they saw a woman in a car parked outside liz's house a few weeks before the fire. detective legrow showed them a photo of cari. the neighbors said they couldn't be sure, but she had the same general appearance. but an e-mail to dave made no secret of who did it. i am not lying, i set that nasty whore's houson
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rendpe tho die in it. and later, cari to liz. "hope you and your kids burn to death." >> once you get into situations like arson or threats to an individual's life, or that those around them, their children, the ex-boyfriend, certainly you're gonna take that much more serious. >> reporter: suddenly the case against cari looked very serious indeed. but still, like smoke from the fire, she vanished. >> what i did was try and find some way of seeing if somebody saw her. and, again, came up with nothing. over and over again, nothing. >> reporter: by this time, said dave, he was afraid she'd try to attack his kids too. >> what did she say when she threatened your kids, for example? >> it was something along the lines of, "slit your childrens' throats." >> wow. >> yeah, that's pretty hard to read. >> reporter: it took a toll, said dave. >> for a while there i was drinking heavily. which is
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there's never been a time in my life where i was a real drinker. and i was a drinker until the bar closed and going to work at 6:00 in the morning. >> wow. and you bought a gun? >> sure. yeah. >> why? >> for my safety, my children's safety, for just protection in general because i didn't know. >> reporter: so dave and liz kept watch in the city, wary, fearful. while out in macedonia, cari's family was coping with a whole different set of emotions. emptiness, grief, and a terrible, gnawing uncertainty. nancy had sent several pleading messages, "come home." >> "cari, you're my daughter and i'll always love you no matter what. we just need to see you, hear your voice, know where you are. i love you so much, you're my little girl. come home." >> for a parent, for a mother, i don't know how -- how do you characterize this episode in ur
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feelings? make sense of them? >> there was no making sense of it. total loss. >> reporter: what happened to cari farver? and why? coming up -- news like a lightning bolt for a family in anguish. >> someone claimed to have seen cari. >> my heart was just racing like crazy. >> reporter: could it be, after all this time? >> i knew she wouldn't just vanish. (avo) when you have type 2 diabetes, you manage your a1c, but you also have a higher risk of heart attack or stroke. non-insulin victoza® lowers a1c, and now reduces cardiovascular risk. victoza® lowers my a1c and blood sugar better than the leading branded pill. (avo) and for people with type 2 diabetes treating cardiovascular disease, victoza® is now approved
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unstopables by downy. for a fresh too feisty to quit. >> reporter: where was cari farver? everyone wanted to know, that was hard. >> reporter: christmas was once magic for max here in macedonia, a celebration of his amazing bond with his mother, of little things, like their family's gift
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everyone just kind of going at once, we go by age and do rounds at christmas, and just going from me to grandma just seemed wrong. >> reporter: well, it was wrong, and you kind of had to bottle it up, didn't you? >> kinda. >> he didn't show his emotion too much to me because he could -- he knew that i was -- >> reporter: you were worried? >> i was really worried. but i found out from his girlfriend's mother that he would go over to her house after school and stuff, to his girlfriend's house, and -- her mother told me that he did a lot of crying at their house, and that bothered me, of course. >> reporter: there had been a sudden bit of hope, after that first christmas without cari in
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the phone rang. >> on the line was a man, saying that cari was at this -- a homeless shelter in omaha, and that we were to go pick her up. >> reporter: but what was happening in here when you -- >> oh, i -- just flutters. i mean, i -- my heart was just racing like crazy. >> reporter: the shelter was about an hour away. nancy, who hadn't seen her daughter or heard her voice for months was too wrought up to drive so she asked her brother to take her. >> oh, i was so tense, and it was just, you know, trying to catch your breath and just -- >> reporter: did you rehearse what you'd say? >> oh, where have you been? yeah, and i -- you know, it's -- i don't care where you've been. you're home. >> reporter: an investigator met nancy at the shelter. he had a photo of cari with him. >> the investigator went into the shelter and showed the picture and wanted to know if
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like her, and they said she ha't >> reporter: what's that like? >> well, then -- you know, then your hopes are dashed again. you just think, where can she be? >> reporter: there's a feeling that comes with realizing you're on a wild goose chase? >> yes. i went home and i thought, i can't live with this anymore. this is just too much. >> reporter: again, nancy messaged cari. >> cari we were at sienna house, where are you? >> jimmy: no response, but then a facebook post weeks later. >> i am a grown woman, and if i feel like leaving home, i have the right. i asked my son max to come with me, but you didn't want to. so when i am ready to come back home i will. i love you all very much, but i need time still to sort things out. >> reporter: then there were posts like this one -- >> -- "liz is the ho that took my boyfriend away from me. now i've met a reani
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delusion, but these messages >> because my daughter was so meticulous about grammar and spelling and the way it sounded. >> reporter: and this stuff was like was? >> oh, it was just garbage. it was just -- >> reporter: sort of chaotic? >> yes, it was chaotic, and it just -- the language that was used and everything else, cari wouldn't have used any kind of language, definitely -- >> reporter: unless she had become a different sort of person? >> yeah. and that too, i'm thinking, is this the case? >> reporter: had her daughter had a total breakdown? what if cari's disappearance was not what it seemed to be? what if cari was kidnapped? what if someone stole her identity? she asked the police about that. >> reporter: what did they say? >> and they said, yeah, well, we'll check it out. you know, that kind of thing. >> reporter: nothing came of it, but after cari's father died, nancy's ex-husbande
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>> he came to me very vividly in the dream and said, he said, don't worry, nancy. she's with me. that sounds silly, but that's when i knew. that -- because i knew she wouldn't just vanish. >> reporter: but, of course nancy didn't know for sure. >> and every time something would pop up online, or we'd get a text or something, there was this hope that maybe she's still out there. >> reporter: max was looking for answers his own way. about a month after nancy went to the shelter in omaha max sent his mom a message on facebook. >> hi.
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next day cari responded. >> hey little man how are you? >> reporter: max messaged back. adequate -- "i have three questions." >> reporter: things only she would know. >> yeah. yeah. things only she would know. >> reporter: max asked, one, what is my middle name? two, what was our first boxer's name? three, who was my best friend as a little kid? >> reporter: and what was the response? >> nothing. i never got a response to that one. >> reporter: which meant what? was that his not-in-her-right-mind mom, or could his grandma be right that someone had kidnapped cari? no way of knowing really, and the messages kept coming, like this one for cari's mom. "i'm not hurt, mom, i miss everyone too. i just had a breakdown and i think i'm getting over it. i should have come to my senses sooner and realized the guy
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wasn't worth it." and then the following year for mother's day. "happy mother's day, mom, how has max been?" >> reporter: nancy frustrated - replied. "call me, and i'll gladly tell you about him. this is not talking, i need to hear your voice." >> reporter: cari never called. for nancy and max, the anguish of missing cari never stopped, and meanwhile, all dave kroupa wanted was to escape her. in february 2015 dave moved from omaha to council bluffs, iowa across the river. his kids lived there with amy flora, and he wanted to spend more time with them, and he hoped cari wouldn't find him there. he bought another gun just in case, and after about three years of relentless harassment things finally seemed to be quieting down for liz and dave. there weren't as many messages from cari. she seemed to be fading away, and as that happened, liz and dave saw each other less and less too. there was just one rather scary thing.
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protection, the one he'd kept hidden, high in a closet disappeared. >> reporter: and you're the only guy in that apartment. >> right. i'm the only one living there. now my mind's racing. there's no forced entry. the doors are all shut and locked. the windows are shut. >> reporter: well, what did you think? >> i didn't know what the hell to think. >> reporter: coming up, dave's stolen gun, could cari be behind it? >> she's still active and sending text messages, sending pictures, or maybe it wasn't cari at all? >> reporter: soon police will be investigating a whole new suspect. when "dateline" continues. she can post out here like she does in the city. hey twelve likes. what? likes won't get you didly around these parts. yaaw!
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>> continuing now, computer programmer cari farver had vanished, leave her mom and son in anguish. >> i just knew something was wrong. >> where can she be?! she seemed to be leaving computer clues, a stormy trail of texts, emails, and threats. >> i was like, oh my god, what in the hell? >> reporter: a mountain of high-tech evidence, and soon, a digital detective would be on it. >> by day i do i.t. work and by night i fight crime. >> you sound like a superhero. >> reporter: a whole new twist was coming. >> oh jesus! >> i've been shot in the leg! >> they had two officers with guns drawn. >> pointing at you? >> yeah. >> here again, keith morrison. >> reporter: in pottawattamie county, iowa, where cari farver lived before she became a mysterious and dangerous digital persona. her disappearance was more office chatter than active case. that's when detectives
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sergeant jim doty and corporal ryan a vis got hooked on it. >> we'd heard some stuff, you know, just -- you know, water cooler talk, i guess. >> yeah. >> about the case. >> about this strange crazy woman. >> yeah. it was interesting. >> it piqued our interests. and so we requested to take a look at it. >> reporter: that was april 2015. more than two years after cari's reign of terror began. the file was huge by then. a bizarre digital house of mirrors. and so doty and avis decided to sort things out. beginning with a very simple question police had never really considered before, though her family certainly had. was cari farver really the vengeful woman she seemed to be? or did she even exist? >> thought the smart idea was not to have tunnel vision on any direction. so, ryan worked it as if cari's still alive. and he was gonna work it until he came to a dead end. i was gonna work it like she was not alive. because e'
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maybe both conclusions. you know, she's stiltindg text pictures. >> she certainly seemed alive. >> maybe she's alive. but she's also missed so many significant events. and hadn't physically been seen by anybody. >> and we started from scratch. started reading. >> reviewing all the old material. >> uh-huh. >> reading all the reports. looking through the phone downloads, listening to any interviews that had been recorded, just diving in. >> reporter: of course they spoke to dave kroupa. no doubt in his mind cari was alive and crazy. >> he was transparent, he gave us access to his whole e-mail account. >> 11,000 e-mails that he had saved over the years. could be more. >> wow. >> reporter: but that wasn't all they had. right there in the file was a wholesale dump of material from liz golyar's cell phone. so, they were learning a lot about both dave and liz. they'd been immersed in all that for months but hadn't interviewed liz yet when, in the office one day, pure
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coincidence. with a county attorney, and another investigator was walking down the hall with liz to his office. >> wow. >> and it -- to me, it was like i saw a famous person, because i knew everything about her. and she was there to file a harassment report. >> reporter: this was odd, her complaint wasn't against cari, it was someone else. >> amy flora, that's the mother of dave's children. >> reporter: wait. amy? not cari? first detective avis did a kind of psychic double-take. then he asked if he could be the one to interview liz. >> who's your ex-boyfriend? >> dave kroupa. >> dave cooper? >> k-r-o-u-p-a. >> that's your ex. and he has kids with amy flora. >> mm-hmm. >> reporter: liz told detective avis that her on-again, off-again relationship wi
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bu split, dave's ex, amy, had been stalking her on facebook. and she was very worried because? >> not even two days after we broke up, his apartment was broken into and his gun was stolen. so i -- i told the police officer i was kind of worried that since she has a key to his apartment -- >> reporter: and that, said liz, is when she suddenly realized that she and dave had been played for fools. for three years she'd believed cari was the woman behind all the threatening messages, the harassing graffiti, the deadly fire that killed her pets. but sudden, it was like a light went on, said liz. it wasn't cari at all! that scary, awful, on-line villainess, the woman responsible for all the trouble had to be amy flora, dave's ex. the mother of his children. diabolical. but think about it, said liz. amy was the one who so desperately wanted dave. she had the motive.
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not really. >> like i said, they only dated for two weeks, and i don't understand why a person would still be stalking him almost three years later. >> cari and dave dated for two weeks? >> mm-hmm. >> and she -- >> supposedly is the one stalking for three -- three years. i would find it more reasonable to believe that his kids' mom is the one that's -- >> reporter: head spinning. detective avis made some notes. told liz he'd do what he could to help her out. and no surprise -- the very next evening, december 5th, liz felt like she needed some time alone to think. she drove out to big lake park, took a walk along the trail there, sat down on a bench. quiet. alone. in the gathering cold and dark. and that's when it happened. the deafening bark of a gun, and the pain tearing through her thigh.
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>> i've been shot in the leg. >> reporter: coming up -- >> somebody in the park? what, armed and dangerous? >> yes. >> reporter: a shooter on the loose. and the prime suspect? >> all i heard was open up, please. and two officers with guns drawn. >> pointing at you? >> yes. with my moderate to severe crohn's disease,... ...i was always searching for ways to manage my symptoms. i thought i had it covered. then i realized managing was all i was doing. when i finally told my doctor, he said humira was for people like me who have tried other medications,... but still experience the symptoms of moderate to severe crohn's disease. in clinical studies, the majority of patients on humira saw significant symptom relief... ...and many achieved remission. humira can lower your ability to fight infections... ...including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers,... including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions,... ...and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas
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mujer?. or a female? >> a female. >> reporter: it was dark when the council bluffs pd roared out to big lake park. found a wounded and bleeding liz golyar, packed her off to the hospital. while the chopper trained down a search light and ground based cops scoured the paths and bushes. >> reporter: so somebody in the park on foot and, what, armed and dangerous? >> yes. >> reporter: while other cops searched for the shooter, detective matthew kuhlmann checked on liz at the hospital. >> you could tell that she -- you know, she was in pain. >> reporter: i can't imagine. >> obvious wound to her leg. >> reporter: but liz was lucky. the bullet went clean through her leg, missed bones and arteries. it could have been much worse. she told the detective what happened. >> she said she came out here to clear her mind. and she walked out to a bench, and sat down. and then a female who she believed to be amy flora came up behind her, stuck a gun to her back, told her to get on the
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>> reporter: a few minutes later, a city police task force surrounded amy's apartment. >> and i kinda seen somebody leaning against my building. and i said, who's there? and all i heard was, open up, police. so i opened the door and they had two officers with guns drawn. >> reporter: pointing at you? >> yes, yeah. >> reporter: what did they say to you? >> they had said that i was accused of shooting liz. >> reporter: they searched her home, and later sat her down in an interview room and hooked her up to a polygraph machine. asked her questions like this one, among others. >> reporter: did you go to big lakes park that day? >> um, no. >> reporter: amy also denied that she shot liz. again and again. but she failed the polygraph. still, something didn't add up. when that local detective arrived at amy's place right after the shooting, he felt the
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ice cold, hadn't been driven for a while. and the neighbor said amy was home all afternoon. so was amy so nervous she blew the polygraph? or was something else going on? detective avis went to see liz at the hospital, his recorder rolling. >> i feel like it's just written on the wall -- what it is. it's "amy shot you with dave's gun, isn't it? >> pretty much, that's what i'm thinking. dave still doesn't think so. >> reporter: you seemed like the friendly cop. >> or the dumb one, i'll be whatever she wanted, as long as she kept telling us information. >> reporter: wait, what? avis was playing dumb, he said, to pump liz for information. because he and his partner had a strong suspicion about who really shot her. a truly shocking idea. something beyond devious. >> she shot herself, is what i thought. >> reporter: liz shot herself?
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that sounded crazy. or maybe, a certain kind of crazy. remember to help catch cari farver, liz had given the police her cell phone. and here's what detectives doty and avis found on that phone. a photo of cari farver's suv, which didn't make any sense at all. because -- >> we looked at the date that was taken. and it was taken on christmas eve of 2012. >> reporter: wasn't that when her car was actually missing? >> yeah, it hadn't been recovered till january of 2013. >> uh-huh. >> so, we thought that's -- that's weird that the police couldn't find it. dave didn't know where it was, but somehow liz was able to take a picture of it. >> reporter: but that wasn't all. remember that threatening photo cari emailed to dave, of a woman bound and duct taped in the trunk? that photo was linked back to liz. which made them wonder, was it possible those wild and scary
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electronic messages all sent in ca nliz? tricky even for a computer whiz to nail that bit oll wall. >> it's beyond our expertise and that's -- >> reporter: well, i was gonna say, how well do you know computers and social media and all of that nonsense? >> we know how to pick up a phone and call tony kava and tell him that he's got a lot of information to look at. >> reporter: tony kava, who's he? >> your cave! >> by day, i do i.t. work, and i've done that for about 15 years. and then by night, i fight crime, so -- [ laughter ] >> reporter: you sound like a superhero. >> reporter: anthony kava's day job is i.t. supervisor for pottawattamie county. but at night, for a dollar a year, he's a reserve sheriff deputy. >> reporter: i mean, how much stuff did you have to go through? >> it was,um, terrabytes worth of information.
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maybe about three dozen e-mail accounts and a number of different apps. >> reporter: and in his tiny office kava sat, hour after hour, late into the night, deciphering enormous amounts of digital data. >> it might take her five minutes to create a fake e-mail account. it might take me you know 15 hours to prove that it's actually her. >> reporter: among those many accounts was a youtube account with this video. >> the title of the video is "husband's cheating place." and that video showed the apartment of dave kroupa. >> reporter: but the ip address where that video was uploaded was where liz lived. >> so again it was another arrow pointing at liz. >> reporter: painstakingly, arrow by arrow, anthony kava compiled the evidence. his conclusion -- every one of those threatening emails, and texts, and facebook posts and youtube videos, linked right back to liz golyar. meanwhile, detectives doty and avis busied themselves with good old fashioned earth-bound evidence. remember that one un
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fingerprint found in a mint container in cari's otherwise spotless suv? >> we asked our crime scene tech, hey, can you compare that fingerprint to the known prints of lids, see what you come up with. >> it was a match. >> this lady who should have had very little interaction with cari should -- had no reason to ever be in her vehicle. >> only met her in passing one time. >> reporter: yeah? >> but now, her fingerprint is in her car. >> reporter: liz in cari's suv. liz impersonating cari online. there was no logical explanation for it, unless -- >> we think liz may have been involved with making cari disappear. >> reporter: a case about to dive right through the looking glass. and on the other side? hard to believe. >> reporter: coming up -- >> why else would you disguise yourself as cari if you weren't responsible for it? >> reporter: what had really haen
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finally get to the bottom of it all. >> i'm investigator doty, i work here for the sheriff's office. >> reporter: when "dateline" continues. getting your flu shot at walgreens is easier than ever. just walk right in and pay zero dollars with most insurance. plus, when you get a flu shot at walgreens, you help provide a lifesaving vaccine to a child in need through the un foundation. it's that easy to get your flu shot and make a difference. so swing by your local walgreens today. walgreens. at the corner of happy & healthy. there are mcpick 2 for 5 deals on all sides, favorites everywhere... mcnuggets and big mac! it's good! (crowd cheers) get your fan favorites on the mcpick 2 menu. choose any two for just five bucks. they did it! ooooh my! ♪ let me get a mcpick 2 (vo) more "dper rollres for mom" bounty is more absorbent, so the roll can last 50% longer than
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>> reporter: by the time these two county detectives started looking into the strange case of but, always the optimist, he decided to try one more time to reach her on facebook. >> i was at that point. it was just a last-ditch effort. just hoping something would happen. >> "if this is really you, please come back, i want you to be at my graduation." >> reporter: when she didn't respond, hid
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>> i west ham united -- i wasn't really surprised, like i said, i knew it wasn't her. >> reporter: max and nancy had suspected for months that all those digital rants were not actually from cari. and they didn't know it yet, but detectives jim doty and ryan avis agreed with them. the detectives already had proof liz was impersonating cari online. but they also suspected something much darker. remember, another part of their investigation involved this basic question. was cari farver alive or dead? >> her father died. >> reporter: yeah. >> and she didn't go to the funeral. missed her son's birthday. all these things. >> i mean, it didn't take ryan very long at all to come to a dead end where he -- he couldn't find anything to show that she was alive. >> reporter: suddenly ca cari farver looked not like a villain, but like the real victim. and the woman who claimed she was the victim -- li
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cari's disappearance. >> because why else would you disguise yourself as cari if you weren't responsible for it? why would you be in cari's vehicle if you weren't responsible for it? >> reporter: all of that is so counter intuitive and so bizarre that, you know, you wouldn't be expected to believe such a thing. >> no. >> reporter: it was stunning. really. liz apparently impersonating cari for years sending thousands of texts and e-mails in her name. but now they had a bigger question and a much bigger problem. >> i guess part of the worry was that even if we could prove that it's liz sending all this stuff out as cari, well, that doesn't prove murder. >> reporter: murder? yes. sergeant doty and corporal avis believed that liz killed cari out of jealousy, impersonated cari in order to win dave back, then tried to frame his
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even going so far as to set her the leg. pretty wild stuff. but, could they prove it? >> we needed something more. so, we still weren't quite sure how to get to that point. and then liz herself, by accusing amy of shooting her gave them their big idea. >> and that's when we introduced jim to liz. >> well, i'm investigator doty. i work here for the sheriff's office. >> reporter: a little over a week after the shooting in the park, liz arrived at the sheriff's station wearing her work uniform. >> i told you i was looking into a missing person's case briefly on the phone. >> reporter: he told her there was a break in the case. >> there are some -- been some remains that have been located. >> ok. >> reporter: it was a ruse of course. >> we're waiting on the lab results to make a positive id but the initial indications that these remains are cari. >> ok. >> reporter: meanwhile, said detective doty, he was hoping liz could help eli
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timeline, like when was the last time liz saw cari. "well that was easy", said liz. one brief encounter when liz went unannounced to dave's apartment back in 2012. >> i didn't know he was dating anybody else at the time. so she came out and i was going in. and she made a smart comment to me. >> what'd she say to you? >> called me a [ bleep ]. >> ok. >> and it wasn't a big deal. i didn't really care at the time. i just wanted to get my stuff. and then i left and went home. >> ok. that's the only time you've ever seen her in person? >> yup. >> reporter: she told detective doty that it was dave who blamed cari for all those harassing messages over the years. but just as she had told detective avis, she now thought perhaps amy was really the one behind it all. >> she was with him for 12 years. and she still goes in and out of his life all the time, so -- >> yeah. so you think she could've been the person that did some of that stuff to you? >> i'm just saying, as another person who would be possessive
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so i mean i wouldn't put it past her. >> reporter: detective doty pretended to agree. >> i'm thinking if she was bold enough to go and shoot you, she could easily have been bold enough to do something to cari. >> reporter: of course, he said, he'd need to prove it. >> if we had messages from her saying, hey, i did this, or i did that, you know, i could easily start building that case. >> right. >> we want to build a case against amy. and we want to get amy thrown in prison, which we were hoping was music to her ears. and apparently it was. >> reporter: liz agreed to help with the investigation and she limped away. and she became a little deputy for you? >> yeah. no telling what liz might come up with next. >> reporter: coming up -- >> we had to find evidence that would matcat
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>> reporter: -- the chilling clue that might finally unlock this mystery. >> there's a dark red stain right on that seat. >> reporter: that's huge. >> it was. i love mondays.... (vo) get it done, on the samsung galaxy note 8, right now for 50% off. and with galaxy forever, you can upgrade every year to the latest galaxy. for people with hearing loss, switch to sprint. visit sprintrelay.com. [ stirring music a woman vanished last night. we just found the body. [ distorted voice ] mister policeman, when you read this, it will be too late. this killer is completely insane. [ gasp ] [ distorted voice ] i gave you all the clues. he's been watching us the whole time. no.
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doctor if chantix is right for you. many insurance plans cover chantix for a low or $0 copay. >> reporter: when cari farver never returned to little macedonia, iowa, back in 2012, cops and neighbors alike seemed where's she from, they all kinda believed that, too, and nancy never could stand up and argue.
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indeed, until one day detective doty knocked on her door. >> i was a little bit stand-offish because -- >> been down that road before? >> yeah. finally he said to me, he said, "well, i want you to know that i don't think she left on her own." i tell ya, my attitude just changed. >> reporter: the very thing she'd suspected -- they saw what you had seen all along? >> right. so then they -- then the investigation really got going. >> reporter: an investigation as unusual, and convoluted, as the apparent crime. in which an eager liz golyar would try to help prove that her rival amy, killed cari. of course, all the while the detectives knew amy was innocent, but they let liz think they believed otherwise. >> if she made anything, real threatening statements or
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anything to cari, because that's like gold to me if we had something like that. >> okay. >> reporter: and what do you know, within days, liz began forwarding them emails. from amy, she said. although the misspellings looked awfully familiar. "i shot you, liz, to make sure dave stayed away from you. i made a couple of those fake emails and numbers you and dave thought were cari to get rid of you, liz, but didn't work too well." >> when they first started coming in they were pretty vague. >> reporter: so detective doty spoke to liz again. they needed more, he told her. >> so you guys want me to try and e-mail her back? >> and that's -- i'm leaving that in your court, liz. i mean, if that's something you would feel okay doing, uh, that'd be really helpful for us. >> reporter: liz said she'd try. c
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would be nice, probably. >> yeah, that -- that -- true. get, uh, her family some closure. >> reporter: so liz said she sent this email to amy. "so if you really shot me, then what kind of gun was it? so did you ever get to meet up with dave's ex cari?" >> reporter: and according to liz, amy responded. "the gun was dave's that i used. don't worry you didn't get it as bad as crazy cari." and then she wrote this -- "so when i met crazy cari she would not stop talking about dave and him being her husband. she tried to attack me, but i attacked her with a knife. i stabbed her three to four times in the chest and stomach area. i then took her out and burned her. i stuffed her body in a garbage bag with crap." sort of detail a killer would know. >> reporter: to see that it was working must have been enormously -- exciting? >> it felt good. >> reporter: a couple of days later, dave kroupa called detective avis to say he'd just had a disturbing conversation
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founremains, like somebody's dead, and that they thought it was this cari. and, uh, and that supposedly they had all this evidence against amy. you know, that she's complicit, or knows something, or whatever. i don't know. >> reporter: dave was understandably shaken up. avis couldn't tell him much, but he did drop a big hint. >> i'd be damn near moved in with -- with amy if i were you. and -- >> okay. >> uh, since liz did come and tell you this, i would avoid her like the plague right now. >> okay. >> reporter: dave took his advice, moved in with amy so they could protect each other and their kids. but that outraged liz. she called the police to say so. >> looks like the only person that benefitted was her. so she gets to shoot somebody, and then she gets to kill another person, and then she gets to move in with dave and
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guys aren't arresting her. [ crying ] >> reporter: detective doty told her he still needed more evidence. so liz gave them access to her e-mail account. and over the next month emails came pouring in, allegedly from amy, of course. "i got a hold of cari and we drive in her car. i reached over and stabbed her in the stomach. when i killed cari, you know she begged me to call dave at work. then she begged me to talk to her family before she died. i remember when i killed cari that she had a ying yang sign on left thigh. all that read like a detailed confession. but -- >> we had to find evidence that would match what she's telling us to confirm that what she's telling us is true. >> reporter: they needed to look at cari's car, again. but the car had long since been sold to somebody else. but they found it, much used, in a whole other coun
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>> took out the passenger seat, pulled off the fabric of that, and there's a dark, red stain right on that seat, large stain. >> reporter: they tested it, human blood. and dna confirmed it was cari's blood. >> reporter: that's huge. >> it was. >> we high-fived. [ laughter ] but we didn't really know what to do next for sure. >> reporter: but they were sure they had to move fast, because it appeared liz was scouting a new target. >> we would see her circle amy's apartment multiple times a day. >> reporter: because doty and avis believed cari was murdered in omaha, they asked the city police for help. and the omaha pd picked up liz on an unrelated misdemeanor warrant. but in the interview, their questions were about cari. liz stuck to her story, that she was the victim in this tragic tale. >> what do you think happened to
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cari farver? >> i don't know. i don't even know -- i don't know if what amy's saying is true. i don't know. >> okay. >> i'm more scared that something's going to happen to me and then my kids aren't going to have anybody. >> reporter: the omaha detective added some pressure. why, he asked, was her fingerprint in cari's car? >> i don't know, but i've never been in her car. i don't even know what car she drives. >> reporter: she denied everything. >> the finger is pointing right at you. >> then i'm done talking and i'm going to have my attorney, because i didn't do anything. >> reporter: by the end of the night she bonded out and the county attorney wanted more time to review the evidence. >> reporter: what was it like there waiting for that, was it frustrating? >> it -- it was. >> reporter: months went by. max, who hadn't heard t
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from high school without his mom. >> that was the real kinda stake in the heart, but -- 'cause -- >> reporter: well, god knows if there was any occasion she was going to attend, it certainly would've been your graduation. >> yeah. >> reporter: summer came and went, another winter set in. and then december 22, 2016, four years after cari farver vanished, after reviewing all of the evidence the county attorney finally felt there was enough. liz golyar was arrested for murder. >> the best part of it was being able to go to nancy and tell her, we've arrested somebody for the murder of your daughter. >> reporter: that was a big day for her. >> that was what made working this whole case worth it. >> reporter: what did it feel like driving out there to see them? >> couldn't drive fast enough. >> reporter: it was big news for dave, too. >> that was the first time i could go outside and take a breath of fresh air and say, "i don't have to look over my
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shoulder today." while the prosecutors prepared for a trial they knew would not be easy. >> reporter: well, yeah, no body cases are tough, right? >> yeah, and circumstantial. it was very circumstantial. >> reporter: but then as the trial date was bearing down, a teeny tiny memory card yielded an amazing discovery. >> reporter: which was just basically, just bs luck you ever got that, right? last minute? >> i don't think it's luck. i think it was divine intervention. >> reporter: coming up -- a signature tattoo, the ultimate computer clue! >> reporter: it turns up on a picture? >> of a dead body? >> yeah. >> reporter: holy cow! would cari farver get justice at last? >> it was nerve racking. >> reporter: when "dateline" continues.
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>> we've had our fair share of homicides, and bizarre cases. but this, certainly in all my experience, tops the charts for most bizarre. even for seasoned prosecutors brenda beadle and james masteller. >> your typical murder case you know exactly when the murder happened. you know exactly where it happened. when you don't have a body you don't really have a good date, time, or location. >> this is a bizarre and twisted case of a fatal attraction. >> reporter: nevertheless, on may 10, 2017, they put liz golyar on trial for the
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that would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. >> rted he right to a jury trial. a judge would hear the evidence. the prosecutors laid it out methodically. cari's blood in the car, liz's fingerprint on the mint container in the car, the e-mails that read like confessions, the vast trove of digital forensics. they even tracked down a purchase on cari's bank card made after she vanished, a walmart receipt. >> one of the items was a shower curtain. >> reporter: yeah. >> and that shower curtain looked familiar to us, because in one of her -- that phone dump that we did in 2013 of liz's phone, there's a picture of that shower curtain. >> reporter: and they found the shower curtain itself at liz's apartment. there was also a photo of cari's driver's license with a large knife next to it that was eemp -- e-mailed to dave. he thought it was a threat from
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in fact, it was sent from an e-mail account created by liz. >> all these pieces together made a big difference. >> reporter: all of it put together, said the prosecutors, told the story of how liz golyar murdered cari farver. they told the judge it happened the morning of november 13, 2012, after dave kroupa left for work. cari was on her laptop. >> we know by examination of cari farver's known facebook that she logged into her facebook at 6:39 a.m. that morning. about two minutes later she logged off. she was supposed to leave for work, but never made it. >> she was intercepted. something happened. that something was the defendant. >> reporter: hard to know exactly what liz did to cari, but -- it didn't take her too long because at 9:54 a.m. cari farver's cell phone is being used to access facebook. >> reporter: and at that moment it appeared, cari unfriended dave.
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temerity to actually be facebook friends, this is one of the very first acts the defendant takes, to actually eliminate that facebook friendship. >> reporter: and from then on in cyberspace, liz became cari. >> all for the purpose -- for the reason of convincing people, her friends, her family relatives, everyone, that she was still alive. >> reporter: nancy went to court every day for the trial, heard the details for the very first time. >> when i heard all of those -- what this person was doing in her name, it just made me so ang angry because cari, she didn't deserve that at all. >> reporter: so, strong case? the prosecutors hoped so, though no-body cases are tough to prove. but was it luck? divine intervention?
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before the trial began, detective avis and tech-guru tony kava went back to dave kroupa again, and asked if he had anything that might help them, and that's when it hit him. he'd put a tablet into storage, had forgotten all about it. so he fished it out and kava examined it. >> tony removed the external sd card, the memory. >> reporter: ah, yeah? >> and had been deleted and reformatted. >> reporter: blank, or so it seemed, until kava took a closer look. pay dirt. >> there were, i want to say thousands of pictures that he was able to locate. >> reporter: thousands of photos that liz thought she had deleted. >> one of the pictures we found, it was a chinese symbol, that we were able to determine meant mother, and there were dark lines in the picture. >> reporter: dark lines? they looked more closely. those lines were veins on what
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looked like someone's foot, someone's deceased foot. avis called cari's mom nancy. >> nancy was able to email a few pictures, and sure enough, cari has that same tattoo on her left foot. >> reporter: wow. >> identical. >> reporter: and remember the yin yang tattoo mentioned in one of those possibly confessional emails? >> lo and behold, it turns up on a picture. >> yeah. >> reporter: of a dead body? >> yeah. >> reporter: holy cow. >> that was cari's too. the tattoo parlor kept a record. >> my first thought when i saw those photographs was that this defendant had taken a trophy, or trophies of the person she had killed. >> reporter: the motive, a very old one, jealousy. >> it was really all about dave kroupa. >> she did it, because she wanted this man. >> reporter: jealousy makes people do strange things, but that's just -- why so much? what -- why? >> i think it snowballed.
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she was still alive k heat off of her, and it just went on and on and on for years. dave kroupa heard it all, and finally understood. >> i mean, it makes sense now, at the end. you know? but the tarantino movie always makes sense at the end. you know, it doesn't make any sense getting there. >> reporter: and liz's defense attorney james martin davis agreed. it was like a movie. a fictional one. >> i know they've got all this bizarre behavior, and they've got all this circumstantial evidence, but it doesn't show my client on that day in this jurisdiction took a knife, and stabbed cari farver to death. >> reporter: without that? no murder case. >> defense attorney, you may -- you may have camcorders and you may have smartcards, and you
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have a body, and you don't have a cause of death from a medical examiner. what we have is their belief, their speculation, their notion that this is what happens, but that's -- that can't convict. >> reporter: and then the judge retired to think about it, and returned to an anxious courtroom. max, inside the courtroom, waited for the words. >> it was nerve-racking. >> reporter: and then finally, an answer. >> the court finds, and it judges the defendant guilty, >> reporter: guilty of first-degree murder for killing cari farver and second-degree arson for setting fire to her own house and killing her pets. she was sentenced to life in prison. just a few rows behind liz, cari's mother nancy finally heard the longed-for words from the judge. >> saying that cari did not vanish off the face of the earth, and she just didn't vanish into thin air. it was just total relief to me,
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>> reporter: you can't grieve, really, until you know, and now they did. >> it'll never go away, but at least we can deal with it now, have to deal with it. >> reporter: so important, said nancy, to finally set the record straight about a loving mother, and a good woman, who never abandoned anyone. >> and i think it would've been plrnt to cari too, because she would have wanted people to say, this was not me. >> reporter: max is in college now studying software engineering just like cari did. >> yeah. she was the one that really got me to understand computers. i'll never type as well as she could, but she -- she's definitely a big influence there. >> reporter: and inspired your
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>> uh-huh. she definitely did. i have her to thank for what i'm going down now. >> reporter: i think she'd be pretty proud of you. >> i hope so. >> reporter: that's all for this edition of "dateline." we'll see you again next friday at 9/8:00 central, and of course i'll see you each weeknight for "nbc nightly news." i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, goodnight.
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. now at 11:00, a grim discovery in the search for that missing teenager her family on the move night hoping investigators don't con if i were the wo

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